Law School Discussion

Michigan 1L Taking Questions

challandler

Michigan 1L Taking Questions
« on: October 21, 2006, 08:19:20 AM »
It just so happens that I've got a little free time this weekend which coincides with the release of LSAT scores and the inevitable rush of threads about choosing a school.  So I'll take a few questions from anyone who is interested in finding out what Michigan is really like.  Here's the deal: you don't ask me about your chances of getting in (I'm not in charge of that), and I'll give you the honest scoop about anythng else (no trolling here).  Fire away.   

Re: Michigan 1L Taking Questions
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2006, 08:34:35 AM »
what do you think Mich would have to do in order to be mentioned in the same breath as Columbia/NYU/Chi?

mjb

Re: Michigan 1L Taking Questions
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2006, 08:47:33 AM »
It just so happens that I've got a little free time this weekend which coincides with the release of LSAT scores and the inevitable rush of threads about choosing a school.  So I'll take a few questions from anyone who is interested in finding out what Michigan is really like.  Here's the deal: you don't ask me about your chances of getting in (I'm not in charge of that), and I'll give you the honest scoop about anythng else (no trolling here).  Fire away.   

How important are essays? How are minority recruitment/scholarships? 

How is oncapmus recruitment? Does everyone have a path on easy street with a UMich degree?

How cheap are student football tickets? How easy are they to get?

Re: Michigan 1L Taking Questions
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2006, 09:50:38 AM »
Thanks Vapid, I am interested in QOL/COL issues.

What is cost of housing like? I have heard that it is relatively expensive for the Great Lakes region. Do you think $600 for a 1-br is reasonable there? Also, how is convenience of off-campus housing versus on-campus?

How is transportation to and from campus? Is a car necessary and what is parking like around campus?

I have read that a high percentage of law students live in a dorm. Have you lived there, and if so what do you think? (If at all possible I would not like to relive my undergrad days where one is constantly surrounded by classmates)

How is the gym?

TIA, I appreciate it.

challandler

Re: Michigan 1L Taking Questions
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2006, 10:24:46 AM »
what do you think Mich would have to do in order to be mentioned in the same breath as Columbia/NYU/Chi?

Move.  Young aspiring professionals tend to want to be in large, coastal cities.  Michigan's location produces fewer applications and a lower yield than peer schools. This results in a high acceptance rate and lower average LSAT and GPA, which are the main things hurting the school in conventional rankings.


I have a vague idea that U Mich has some good sports teams. Heh. I'm not much of a sports fan. Will a non-sports fan fit in at Mich? Will I be the only one not going out to the big football game?


While there are plenty of students who don't go to the football games, you need to be willing to accomodate those of us who do.  Traffic on football Saturdays is nearly impossible to navigate, and parties will interrupt your peace and quiet if you live between the campus and the stadium.  Also, Saturday is often the one day law students set aside their studying for socializing, so if you insist on being a sports hermit, you may have fewer opportunites to hang out with classmates outside of school.  Many of the law students who aren't interested in sports still go to football parties (and even to the games) just to be a part of the scene and blow off a little steam with their friends. 

On the other hand, many of my friends are not into football at all and I've spent the last several Saturday nights with them at wine parties, ochestral concerts, potlucks, and board game nights.  These events are generally well-attended becuase my friends have the foresight to schedule them after (rather than during) the games.

In short, the class here is large enough and diverse enough that you will find plenty of people with no interest in Michigan athletics and no one will look down on you becuase of it.  You just have to understand and accept the practical impositions that can come with a huge sports school.


How important are essays? How are minority recruitment/scholarships? 

How is oncapmus recruitment? Does everyone have a path on easy street with a UMich degree?

How cheap are student football tickets? How easy are they to get?

1. I can't speak to that.  I don't make admissions/scholarship decisions, and most students here don't talk about aid or admissions.  I wouldn't be able to tell you who wrote which essays or who is getting how much aid, even among my closest friends.

2. The word from the class above us is that everyone gets a great job with a U-M degree.  At first it kinda frustrated me to hear this so much becuase no one ever talked about what they consider a "great" job.  But I've come to discover that's becuase no one is really stressed about employment.  Even students who admit to being at the bottom of their class made $2,500 per week last summer working in the practice area they desire in the city of their choice.  It's hard to complain about that.  Many students split summers so they have the chance to experience different kinds of practice or different cities, and some even go through 3L OCI with an offer from their 2L firm just to explore their options.

3. Season tickets are very easy to get and cost about $22 per game.  You'll get info about them from Dean Z. sometime in the Spring.  There will probably be a seperate group for law students (mostly 1Ls) so you won't be surrounded by drunk UGs.


Thanks Vapid, I am interested in QOL/COL issues.

What is cost of housing like? I have heard that it is relatively expensive for the Great Lakes region. Do you think $600 for a 1-br is reasonable there? Also, how is convenience of off-campus housing versus on-campus?

How is transportation to and from campus? Is a car necessary and what is parking like around campus?

I have read that a high percentage of law students live in a dorm. Have you lived there, and if so what do you think? (If at all possible I would not like to relive my undergrad days where one is constantly surrounded by classmates)

How is the gym?

TIA, I appreciate it.

1 & 2. Ann Arbor is expensive for the Midwest.  $600 for a 1-bedroom apartment might be a little on the low side, but the town has many different neighborhoods so prices vary wildly.  Many of my classmates share houses with roomates found online, and pay much less than that.  Most of these report good experiences.  The convenience of off-campus housing also depends on where you live.  I live north of campus and take a campus bus each day.  It is super-quiet (mostly families) and the bus is very reliable.  The trip from my front door to the classroom takes about 30 minutes (and I can get some reading done). There are plenty of places that are just a short walk from campus.  Many students ride bikes.  Driving is generally out of the question, however, as parking is really hard to come by.  If you live away from campus, it is probably good to have a car for trips to the store and stuff.  If you live on campus, a car is usually unnecessary as you can often find someone else to take you.

3. The Lawyer's Club is for law students only and is part of the law school itself.  It is great becuase you can leave your books in your room, nap between classes, study in privacy, etc.  Also, most of the LC kids get to know each other much faster than the rest of us (but you'll get to know most people pretty well eventually anyway).  If your goal is to not be constantly surrounded by classmates then law school in general is probably not for you.  That's the way it works no matter where you live.  The main questions in deciding between the Lawyers Club and off-campus housing is how much privacy you need (the walls are thin and the bathrooms are shared), how much you like to cook (no kitchen), and how much control you need over things like furniture (they are partially furnished). 

4. There are three gyms, but I haven't been yet so I'll let you know when I go. (Rumor has it that they have lots of equiptment and lots of space, but that they're not the prettiest things in the world).




Okay, I'm off to the Iowa game now, and I have a party to go to tonight, so I probably won't get to any more questions until tomorrow.

challandler

Re: Michigan 1L Taking Questions
« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2006, 08:11:21 AM »
You mentioned that parking is not good.  Are the spaces gone very early or are there just no all-day student spots available?  If I wanted to show up at 6:30 and study in the library until class started, would I find a spot then?  Is there motorcycle parking near the law school?  Are there park-and-ride lots convenient to the bus lines?

Do you have any idea how much a 3-bedroom house or condo with a garage runs?  Either rental rate or to buy?  I don't suppose you know anything about elementary schools...

Do you know if there are any decent summer jobs in Ann Arbor?  How would a commute to Detroit be?  Are there any decent summer jobs there?

Good questions! 

1. Driving is a challenge.  There are no all-day student lots within a reasonable walking distance to the law school.  Student commuter lots are located off-site, and busses will run you to-and-from campus.  Depending on the lot you choose, permits for a commuter lot cost between $70 and $120 per year.  The city bus (slightly less reliable) has 5 free park-and-ride lots around town as well.  If you really want to be near the law school, some students rent parking spaces from residents in nearby apartments at around $75 per month.  All of the on-street parking near campus is metered, has a two-hour limit, and fills up early.  There are also public parking lots that run $0.80 per hour if you are ever running late and have to drive to class.  Based on what I've seen, motorcycles do not have seperate parking lots/spaces in Ann Arbor.  However, between the city bus and the campus bus, you can get to school from almost anywher in the city without driving, so its not as big of an inconvenience as it sounds.

2. I live in the University's Family Housing, which is a decent option for people with small children.  It includes all of your utilities, as well as cabe and internet, and a three bedroom runs about $1100 - $1200 per month (I have a two-bedroom, personally, so don't quote me on that).  You can have up to two cars in the parking lot (at an additional $50 per year per car), and it has a full basement for storage.  If you need a garage to keep your car covered or if you just prefer a little more space, there are plenty of good family neighborhoods around, but I wouldn't know the price of a condo.  One of my classmates bought a condo here for the three years becuase it would be cheaper than renting, if that gives you any hope.  I'm sure you can find plenty of housing listings online.  You should definitely visit before you buy, however, as the neighborhoods in Ann Arbor are all very different, so you'll want to find the one that suits your personal style.  I've heard that the schools in Ann Arbor are excellent (mostly becuase the bulk of residents are educators working for the University).  There are some towns neighboring Ann Arbor where the housing is cheaper, but the schools are much less desirable.  I would definitely ask around if/when you come to visit and factor your school district into your housing search.

3. I'll learn more about this after November 1st. There are several law offices and courts in Ann Arbor, so sunner job in town is not out-of-the question, but I can't speak to the likelihood of obtaining one.  There are lots of jobs in Detroit, which is about a 30-40 minute commute depending on which route you take and at which time.  Lansing, the state capitol, also has a good number of jobs, but it is an hour away.  It may be harder to get the elite firm jobs in-state without state ties, but if you are less concerned with the prestige of the position and just want a good job that pays well and will provide a good experience, I'm sure you'll be able to find something.  Especially since most of the students here want to use Michigan's national reputation to their advantage and travel to far-away places (I'm considering applying to a few Alaska positions, personally).  One other option I've heard a lot about is working in Chicago.  It's about a 3.5 hour drive, which lets people work during the week and then come back for the weekends with their family. 

flyaway

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Re: Michigan 1L Taking Questions
« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2006, 08:47:45 AM »
Thank you for taking the time to write this.  Michigan is one of my three dream schools (we'll see in Dec. how realistic), so I'm very interested in this thread.  My husband happens to be a UofM alum for both undergrad and grad school (Fine Arts and Medical Illustration), so we are very familiar with Ann Arbor and have some sentimentality toward UofM.

Do married couples without children ever live in family housing, or is it exclusively for families with children?

challandler

Re: Michigan 1L Taking Questions
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2006, 11:35:02 AM »
Thank you for taking the time to write this.  Michigan is one of my three dream schools (we'll see in Dec. how realistic), so I'm very interested in this thread.  My husband happens to be a UofM alum for both undergrad and grad school (Fine Arts and Medical Illustration), so we are very familiar with Ann Arbor and have some sentimentality toward UofM.

Do married couples without children ever live in family housing, or is it exclusively for families with children?

I'm glad that you appreciate my efforts.  Free time is scarce as a 1L, so it's good to know I'm not wasting mine.

My SO and I are one of many childless couples living in Michigan Family Housing.  The family housing complex is split up into several areas, however, and some attract more children than others.  I live in a child-heavy area because we liked the apartment layout here better and we don't mind the sound of little children playing in the yard.  If the latter bothers you, there is one area that is almost exclusively childless couples and single grad students (rooming together).  There is a lot of convenience that comes with living here, but be aware that you can probably get a nicer/newer apartment for a similar price elsewhere, or a similar apartment closer to campus, so there are a number of tradeoffs that should be consdered.  Also, if you get accepted and choose to visit, talk to the admissions office about seeing an example of an apartment in which a law student lives.  These apartments aren't very impressive when you see them empty, but some personal touches make them much warmer pretty quickly.

Visit: http://www.housing.umich.edu/northwood/

Saja

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Re: Michigan 1L Taking Questions
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2006, 11:38:39 AM »
What's your general schedule like?  I know that's a question that's personal to everybody, but how many hours a day do you generally spend in class/studying/doing other stuff, and how often do you go "out"?  (Whether it be to football, parties, dinner, movies, museums, etc)  What do most of the people just out of undergrad do for fun?

challandler

Re: Michigan 1L Taking Questions
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2006, 12:09:17 PM »
What's your general schedule like?  I know that's a question that's personal to everybody, but how many hours a day do you generally spend in class/studying/doing other stuff, and how often do you go "out"?  (Whether it be to football, parties, dinner, movies, museums, etc)  What do most of the people just out of undergrad do for fun?

Excellent question, actually, as this is something I'm qualified to talk about.

The first semester schedule is three "doctrinal" classes, which are graded, plus Legal Practice, which is Pass/Fail.  The doctrinal classes are 4 days per week for an hour, Legal Practice is twice a week for an hour.  As you no doubt know, the amount of studying depends on your capabilities and personal style.  I tend to work hard from Sunday night through Thurday afternoon and then take it easy. 

So, my typical Monday is:
6:30 - wake up
7:30 - leave for school
8am-5pm - class and studying
5:30-7 - dinner and relaxing
7-10 - study
10pm - bed

However, for fun:
Wednesday night I watch Project Runway / Top Chef with friends.
Thursday night from 6-9pm I play poker with some law students.
Thursday from 10pm-12am is the law school bowling league.
Friday night I usually go out to dinner & a movie with my SO.
Saturday during the day I go to the football game with friends.
Saturday night I eiter watch the rest of the games or I go out with friends.
Sunday morning I sleep in, eat a big breakfast, and run some errands/go shopping.

Also, Thursday night is bar night, and many of the straight-from-UG kids enjoy drinking for much of the weekend.

Basically, there is a lot of work to be done and a lot of fun to be had, the trick is just balancing the two in a way that make sense.


I wanted to let everyone know that (1) if I haven't answered a question in eanough detail or if you have follow-up questions feel free to ask them, and (2) I'm going to start studying again soon so I don't know the next time I'll be free to answer questions.  Just leave them here and I'll get to them when I can.